Epeolatry Book Review: A World So Small
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Title: A World So Small
Author: Cameron Dreamshare
Genre: Sci-fi Romance
Publisher: Studio Dreamshare
Release Date: 31 March 2018
Synopsis: When all you ever wanted was to make music that sells, and all she ever wanted was you, but ex-lovers reappear and repeat like a catchy chorus.
Jordan Barker is a gig rat with a soul-crushing day job and big dreams of becoming a musician and Valkyrie Snow is an architect hitting her stride midlife. Everlasting love should be easy in a world of instant gratification, but it’s harder than ever.
“The man on stage was sitting on a stool, his eyes closed, and big dark waves of hair falling around his chin. Val felt her heart beat faster. She felt intoxicated, lightheaded. She couldn’t look away. She didn’t understand the words he was singing; she could only hear the vibration of his voice in her whole body. She held the sticky table with her hands, watching him sing.”
Jordan is an aspiring musician who’s in an all-time slump. Stuck in a dead-end job to pay rent on his apartment which never seems to be free of disarray, he just can’t seem to catch a break. His relationships with girls are quick and fleeting, never capturing that true essence that he’s been searching for, someone he can love. Valkyrie is an architect, head of her own company, building the things she had always dreamed of, except for that certain someone, someone she doesn’t know if she truly wants or is ready for.
Set in a futuristic version of Ottawa, Canada, Cameron Dreamshare’s A World So Small tells tale of two star-crossed lovers from opposite ends of the economic ladder, and how their fateful union will bring about what was missing in their lives.
Within A World So Small, Dreamshare puts a strong amount of content into her world building, throughout the pages of this story, we’re painted vivid pictures of how this society operates and all the issues that arise as such. Robots within operated vehicles create a technological incline, while localized terrorist groups threaten to divide cultural unity and freedom of expression. Richly layered with intense political undertones, Dreamshare painstakingly crafts a world in peril, tearing itself apart at the seems, yet against the schism two may come together to face it.
However, despite this vast and expansive world Dreamshare attempts to create, the theme of divide unfortunately spreads to the structure itself. A World So Small is immensely unfocused in its narrative, the political undertones serving as what could be a side story leading to the inevitable climax, only to later be shown as just a side plot (if not preparing for another conflict come a potential, if not guaranteed, sequel). It felt dreadfully underwhelming after having been mentioned so often alongside the main plot, that it deceives its importance, seeming only as attempted world-building in a story that’s true focus really does not reflect the world. As often as the technology of this new age is mentioned, it never directly has an impact on the plot other than to occasionally, and rather quickly, wrap up any possible conflict that had arisen.
Dreamshare’s focus was primarily on her characters, their journeys and how these lone paths were to intertwine and come together as one, the unity amongst the separation. Dreamshare puts just as much attention into this as she does her world, long detailed descriptions thoroughly shaping these people in the mind, their goals and ideals firm, stated with a confidence.
The male lead of Jordan appears to be without much agency, his advancements in the plot catering mostly to action caused or influenced by a third party. His inaction truly has no consequence in the grand scheme of the story, as most issues he has are either left by the wayside or resolved. Even so, these struggles that come accommodated with his current class, do have their weight, and emotional moments can draw empathy from readers as he seeks to correct his way of life only to have it come to a halt yet again as he tries with a desperation to grow and escape it.
Valkyrie, the female lead, is surrounded by an air of mystique, shrouding her background and origins behind her ambitious projects and social life. While these elements are later added that expand her lifestyle, many of them fall short as they do little to further progress the character or give much of a common ground for readers to relate. With her being as prevalent a character in the book as she is, her mystique only serves as a hindrance to her complexity and depth, coming off as very one note with little flaws or imperfections. Through her we are introduced to several side characters of whom present certain conflicts, some of which make their reappearances, but others are simply present for a sole scene. Her segments seek to develop her as a person, but only serve to pad time and draw back the pace. And herein in lies the fundamental issue with A World So Small.
The simultaneous plot threads have little to no satisfying conclusion. Many of the conflicts in the story are set up, and built up throughout the course of the story, from political tensions rising to extreme heights, to antagonistic past lovers returning to complicate matters. If certain sections like these were removed the story would truly not be missing any crucial information, especially so when most of these threads are repeated later in the story, characters getting dropped altogether in favour of new characters with very similar roles. Some threads even go so far as to incorporate rather adult and serious issues, only to have them not carry much overall weight to the main story in the end, which makes light of these issues and not give them the respectful gravity they deserve.
In Dreamshare’s defense, A World So Small is the first in a future series that will be coming out. Many of these plot threads may be explored, but for now have felt hollow and abandoned with very little meaning behind their inclusion.
A World So Small speaks of great ambition, and rather unique and interesting perspectives placed within a future society. However, it hinders itself with attempting to cover many aspects of its universe and its inhabitants that have little to no relation, and this lack of cohesion and often preachy form of expression leads to its unraveling. This seems best recommend to hard fans of Harlequin-style romance with a bit of a modern political edge, otherwise those hoping to be invested in any sci-fi angle, will likely be sorely disappointed.
A World So Small can be found on Amazon